At Golan crossing reopening, Druze yearn to see family soon

18 October, 2018, 06:57 | Author: Donnie King
  • A displaced Syrian sits holding her child at a refugee camp in northeastern Syria Feb. 26 2018.

The al-Naseeb border crossing between Jordan and Syria officially reopened Monday after a three year closure.

The Syrian army has raised the national flag over Quneitra crossing on the border with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights after almost five years since it was taken over by militant groups.

The crossing is the only conduit between Syria and Jordan and is also considered one of the most important land crossings in the Middle East as it was the main crossing for exports from Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria to the Gulf states and vice versa.

Syrian government forces recaptured the passage in August, but lengthy procedural discussions delayed the crossing's official reopening until Monday.

As the Syrian national anthem blasted from loudspeakers at the sole crossing between Syria and the Golan, 58-year-old Taweel couldn't hide his excitement. Its frontier with Turkey is only open into rebel-held areas, and its crossing with Iraq is only open for government or military uses.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus said the United Nations forces took up positions on the Israeli side and redeployed to headquarters on the Syrian side.

Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 war.

Syria's foreign minister says it's "impossible" for his government to give up on the "vital" oil-rich eastern Syria, controlled by U.S-backed Kurdish-led forces.

Arab countries have boycotted the regime since the early days of the war, freezing its membership in the 22-member state Arab League. But IS has lost most of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq over the last two years.

According to a statement released Monday morning by the state-run Jordan News Agency (Petra), Syrian citizens hoping to enter Jordan via the Naseeb crossing must obtain "prior security approval".

Meanwhile, at the Naseeb crossing between Syria and Jordan, dozens of private cars lined up to cross from Jordan.

There had been instances ahead of the Syrian war when apples harvested in Golan would be sold inside Syria through the crossing.

The UN observers had left the Quneitra crossing in 2014 for the first time since deploying there in 1974 to monitor a ceasefire and a demilitarised zone.

Both the SANA and Petra news agencies confirmed traffic had begun to pass through the crossing, which would mean the reconnection of the global highway that crosses Syria from north to south and the resumption of exports to Jordan and the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, a major boost to the Syrian economy. It also reinforces the Syrian government's message that it is slowly emerging victorious from the seven-year conflict.



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